From January 7–10, 2019, we held our first West Coast Priest Conference in La Jolla, CA, at the beautiful Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. Nearly one hundred and fifty priests joined renowned theologians Scott Hahn, John Bergsma, and Tim Gray for four days of deep spiritual renewal. They experienced the expert scholarship, opportunity for sacramental graces, and fellowship that priests have come to expect from a St. Paul Center Priest Conference.
“Being on this retreat has been a blessing,” said Fr. Maurice Sands, executive director of the USCCB’s Black and Indian Mission Office and pastor of St. Alfred parish in Taylor, Michigan. “It has provided me with spiritual renewal and refreshment through the opportunities for prayer, the offering of solid teaching by holy and gifted theologians, and fellowship with my brother priests.”
It was certainly an occasion for many graces. From the beginning, our goal for our Priest Conferences has been to offer strong ongoing formation, time for prayer, and much-needed fellowship to our spiritual fathers. During these difficult times, in particular, we want to give our priests—who do so much for us, who dedicate their entire lives to serving Christ—encouragement and hope.
Fr. Angelo Casimiro, MIC, postulant director and rector of students at the Marian House of Studies in Steubenville, Ohio, said that he highly encourages his brother priests to attend. He said, “I was inspired and renewed in my love for Scripture by some of the best biblical scholars around today.”
Additionally, thanks to the generosity of one of our benefactors, we were able to drop registration from $800 to $400. Our priests were still treated to serene and breathtaking accommodations and talks from respected Catholic theologians—and they experienced all of this for half the cost. Many of the priests cited this lowered cost as the reason they were able to attend.
Think of how many more of our spiritual fathers were able to attend thanks to the generosity of one person. Think, too, of how many parishes and ministries were impacted by each priest returning to his ministry with greater love and zeal for the Lord.
Our West Coast Priest Conference may have passed, but you can still support our priests. This year’s East Coast Priest Conference will be held July 15–19 in Wheeling, West Virginia. Our East Coast Conference consistently attracts a growing number of priests each year, and this year we anticipate well over two hundred priests. Over both conferences, that’s four hundred priests you’ve helped to impact in just one year.
Please consider supporting our priests, whether by sending your own spiritual father for rest and renewal, or by sponsoring a priest who is in need of financial help in order to attend.
Save the date for next year’s West Coast Priest Conference, which will be held January 6–9, 2020, at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in La Jolla, CA.